Attorney Mooradian volunteered this past weekend as a quality control supervisor at Ascentria Care Alliance’s Citizenship Clinic. During the morning, Mooradian trained nearly 20 volunteers about the details of filling out N-400s, the application for naturalization. In particular, he taught the volunteers how to deal with certain issues around criminal history and travel. Of course, a team of volunteer attorneys served as supervisors to ensure the quality of the applications.
Citizenship is a tremendous benefit and the only true way to prevent removal from the United States. However, if a citizenship application is submitted without proper review, or if the person’s immigration or criminal history raises deportability issues, the submission of an application can put the client in significant danger. Frequently, clients who have traveled a lot will be asked to explain their travel and demonstrate their ties to the United States, or else may be determined to have abandoned their lawful permanent resident status. Other times, a client who has accrued criminal history may face one of several issues. First, a serious crime may be considered a crime involving moral turpitude, resulting in possible removal from the United States or at the least a mandatory bar to citizenship. Second, criminal history, or even charges, may affect one’s ability to meet the good moral character standard required of applicants for citizenship. Failure to meet the good moral character standard can also result in denial of citizenship applications.
Accordingly, adequate representation in applying for citizenship is essential. An application for citizenship is an investment in a life-long benefit that prevents deportation, allows access to certain benefits such as federal student grants and federal job opportunities, eliminates the need to renew lawful permanent resident status, and more.